Tag: DUI attorney

Are you familiar with the age-old courtroom drama, where lawyers passionately argue their cases in front of a jury of twelve? It’s a scene we often see in movies and television shows, but did you know that not all trials involve a jury? In fact, there is another type of trial known as a bench trial, where the judge takes on the role typically played by jurors. If you’ve ever wondered about the differences between these two types of trials and how to choose which one is right for your case, read on. In this blog post, we will discuss the key distinctions between bench trials and jury trials and provide insights to help navigate this important decision.

What is a Bench Trial?

In essence, during a bench trial, it’s up the judge to make all critical decisions regarding law interpretations and factual determinations based solely on presented evidence and arguments from both parties involved. Some may argue that this puts immense power into one person’s hands; others may see it as an efficient way to streamline complex cases without relying on diverse opinions.

What is a Jury Trial?

A jury trial is a court proceeding in which a jury makes a decision about a case. The jury is made up of ordinary citizens who are chosen to serve on the jury by the court. The judge presides over the trial and instructs the jury on the law, but it is the jury that decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

Key Differences Between the Two

When it comes to deciding whether to have a bench trial or jury trial, there are a few key differences to keep in mind. For one, in a jury trial, a group of peers will hear the evidence and decide the verdict, whereas in a bench trial, the judge will serve as both the finder of fact and law. Additionally, jury trials tend to be more formal than bench trials, as they require more extensive questioning of witnesses and longer closing arguments. Jury trials are typically more expensive than bench trials since they require more resources.

Pros and Cons of Each Trial Type

When it comes to choosing a trial type, there are two main options: bench trials and jury trials. Both have their own pros and cons that you should consider before making a decision.

Bench Trials Pros

Generally speaking, bench trials tend to be shorter than jury trials. This is because there is only one judge hearing the case rather than a panel of jurors. Bench trials also tend to be less expensive than jury trials, as they require fewer people and resources. Another pro is that because the judge is the only one who decides the outcome of the case, there is generally more control over the outcome of a bench trial. Finally, some people feel that bench trials are fairer than jury trials, as jurors may be influenced by their personal beliefs or experiences.

Bench Trial Cons

The disadvantage of having a shorter trial is that there is less time for both sides to present their case. Additionally, because the judge is the only one making a decision in a bench trial, some people feel that this can lead to bias or partiality. For these reasons, some people prefer to have a jury of their peers decide their case rather than a single judge.

Jury Trials Pros

Jury trials tend to be more thorough than bench trials, as there are multiple jurors who must come to an agreement on the outcome of the case. Furthermore, this agreement must be unanimous, which ensures that both sides receive fair consideration. Having a jury of peers decide a case can also provide more assurance that justice will be served.  Additionally, juries may be better equipped to evaluate complex cases, as they are not experts in law like judges are.

Jury Trial Cons

Jury trials tend to take much longer than bench trials and require more resources. This can increase the cost of having a trial significantly. Additionally, because jurors must come to an agreement unanimously on the outcome of the case, this can lead to long deliberations and deadlocks. Furthermore, jury selection can often take up a large portion of time during trial preparation and may result in bias or prejudice towards one side of the case. Lastly, some people feel that jury trials are too unpredictable, as there is no guarantee that the jurors will reach an agreement in the end.

How to Choose the Right Trial for Your Case

The choice of whether to have a bench trial or a jury trial is an important one. The key difference between the two is that in a bench trial, the judge renders the verdict, while in a jury trial, it is a group of jurors who decide the case. There are pros and cons to both types of trials, and the best option for you will depend on your specific case. Here are some things to consider when making your decision:

  • The severity of the crime
  • The amount of evidence
  • The complexity of the case
  • Your personal preference

Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney

Bench trials and jury trials are both important parts of the American justice system, offering different advantages and disadvantages depending on your situation. Understanding the key differences between these two types of trials will help you make an informed decision about which one is right for your case. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether a bench or jury trial is best for your purpose, but considering all of the factors involved can help ensure that you choose wisely. If you’re wondering whether you should choose a bench or jury trial, it’s best to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.

 

Dinner with friends is over, so you get in your car and set your GPS for home. You start your engine, buckle your seatbelt, and head down the road. Suddenly, you see flashing police lights in your rearview mirror. You quickly make your way to a side street and stop your car.

You fear the worst when the officer gets out of their car and starts walking toward you. Why did they pull me over? What questions will they ask? Will they know I had a drink at dinner?

Be Polite, But Don’t Overshare

Traffic stops can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you have been drinking. But, regardless of what led them to turn their sirens on, your interaction with the officer who pulled you over can influence the outcome of the stop.

When speaking with law enforcement, always comply when requested to hand over your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Even though you may be upset at the prospect of a traffic ticket, observing basic social courtesies such as saying “please” and “thank you” can ease your interaction with the officer.

That said, you have a solid legal ground to stand on if you refuse to answer further questions the officer may ask.

If an officer asks you a question you are uncomfortable answering, you have the right to decline to respond. However, answering an officer’s questions at a traffic stop could lead to accidental self-incrimination. You do not want to say anything that could make the officer suspicious, and in most circumstances, sharing as little as possible is your best course of action.

Law enforcement is responsible for keeping a record of the traffic stop, and if you tell them that you have been drinking, your statement may even lead to DUI charges.

Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Even if you may not feel intoxicated after having one or two drinks before getting behind the wheel, you may unknowingly surpass the legal limit of .08% BAC. It is important to remember that you do not need to tell the officer that you have been drinking – even if they ask you directly.

The U.S. Constitution protects you from giving testimony that could incriminate you, and you should exercise this right when pulled over. If the officer asks you if you have been drinking or any other seemingly harmless question, calmly inform the officer that you will exercise your right to remain silent.

Drunk driving charges are addressed differently depending on the state in which you are charged. In Wisconsin, these charges are referred to as OWI offenses. Penalties for OWI offenses can be severe depending on the circumstances of your arrest, so it is essential to consult with skilled legal counsel to help minimize these negative outcomes.

Throughout the United States, OWI convictions are commonly referred to as DUIs – Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant. Wisconsin statutes refer to these chargers with the acronym OWI – Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated.

Unlike some DUI convictions, you may be subject to an OWI arrest even if the vehicle you are operating is not moving. This distinction is part of the reason why Wisconsin uses the OWI acronym instead of DUI. This subtle difference means that you could face drunk driving penalties even if you were parked or stopped at a light.

A related charge – Operating With a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC) – often accompanies OWI and applies to any test result being over .08. For defendants with three prior OWI/PAC convictions, the legal limit is .02.

Drunk Driving Penalties in Wisconsin

Drunk driving consequences vary depending on your BAC and the number of prior OWI offenses. Because penalties escalate with each repeat offense, it is important to hire a skilled OWI attorney that can help get your charges reduced or even dropped the very first time you are arrested. The degrees of OWI penalties in Wisconsin are as follows:

  • First time OWI offenders may face fines of $150 to $300. If convicted, your license may be suspended for 6 to 9 months.

  • Second time OWI offenders may face fines of $300 to $1100. Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, you may also be ordered to spend between 5 days to 6 months in jail. Second time offenders will also have their license suspended for 12 to 18 months.

  • Third time OWI offenders may face up to $2000 in fines and spend up to 12 months in jail.

Penalties are higher for Aggravated OWI charges, which are pursued by the prosecution on the basis of:

  • BAC was 0.15 or higher at the time of your arrest

  • BAC was over the legal limit and you caused injury or death

  • Multiple previous OWI convictions

  • A minor was a passenger in the vehicle while BAC was above the legal limit

OWI offenses will also stay on your driving record, which will cause your insurance rates to increase. You may also be ordered to complete community service hours and/or take Drunk Driving or Alcohol Awareness classes at the judge’s discretion in addition to criminal penalties such as jail time and fines.

Accused of an OWI or DUI in Wisconsin? An experienced OWI Attorney will protect your rights and fight to see that your charges are reduced or even dropped.

Your attorney's experience can make all the difference when your future is on the line. Learn how attorney Jeffrey Kippa can help you move forward.

Call 920-733-1100